HHJ Hodge Q.C. (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) has handed down his judgment in Rossendale Borough Council v Hurstwood Properties (A) Ltd  EWHC 3461 (Ch). This was a ‘test’ case of a large number of similar claims issued in the High Court. The question for the Court was whether schemes entered into by the defendants for the purposes of mitigating liability to national non-domestic rates fell outside the scope of the principle that rate payers are entitled to organise their affairs legitimately so as to avoid paying rates. The case involved consideration of the doctrine of ‘sham’ transactions, the application of the ‘Ramsay’ approach to statutory construction and ‘piercing the corporate veil.’
Nicholas Trompeter appeared for the Defendants.